The performers took to 25 stages set up across the historic centre of the Spanish capital to launch a "cry of alarm" over the situation of the arts, organizers said.
"We wanted to show that the world of culture has much more to offer than a simple march through the streets," Fernando Martin, the spokesman for the Collective for the Defence of Culture, told AFP.
It was the first event staged by the group, which represents over 100 cultural associations and was set up in October 2013 to "face up to the unsustainable situation" of Spain's cultural sector, which has suffered "spending cuts without pity," he added.
The highlight of the event was a rendition of the "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves" from Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco by a choir of up to 1,800 singers.
Spain's cultural institutions have been hit hard by the deep spending cuts imposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government to rein in the public deficit.
Movie and theatre tickets sales have also been affected by a large hike in the value-added tax on tickets, to 21 percent from eight percent.
"Making a movie in our country is an authentic act of heroism," the president of the Spanish film academy, Enrique Gonzalez Macho, said last month.
Spanish movie theatre revenues dropped 16 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year due to the sales tax hike and Spain's economic downturn, according to the Spanish film academy.